Whether you live in Leeds or you’ve never been to Leeds and are planning a visit, it is simply an amazing place with lots happening. The first time I visited I was working for the charity Bounce Back and went straight to the prison, in itself an amazing Victorian piece of architecture – but I soon got to visit the City Centre and if you’re a shopaholic, Leeds is the place to be. Bounce Back, incidentally, are moving into the area so watch out for details of their great work – it’s a worthwhile charity that focuses on getting ex offenders into work and transforming their lives and I am truly honoured to have worked for them – check them out at www.bouncebackproject.com
I now live in Leeds as well as maintaining a presence in London but always look forward to my journey home to participate in some of the best of what Leeds has to offer.
Here are my top five favourite activities and places to visit:
1. Roundhay Park.
The park covers over 700 acres of rolling parkland with lakes, woodlands, formal gardens, cafes, playgrounds, and the Tropical World visitor attraction. It is one of the biggest parks in Europe and there is so much to see. Start by parking close to the Roundhay Fox pub. You will usually find parking on the road, but there are also numerous car parks within the park itself all of which are free. Visit the specialist gardens close to Tropical World and then visit Tropical World itself which is reasonably priced and has an array of tropical wildlife and plants and is a real hidden gem. Then walk around the lake, stop off for an ice cream and look for the castle which you will see at the far end of the lake. It’s best on a sunny day but even in winter the scenery is simply amazing and I would recommend a visit whether you are looking for some peace and quiet in the gardens or are taking the family for a pinic or fun day out.
2. Salsa Thursday with Abigail & Rahul
Based above Casa Columbiana, s lovely little restaurant oozing with ambiance and charm, Rahul and Abigail offer by far the best salsa experience in Leeds. As a complete beginner I was naturally a little clumsy when I first started, but the lessons are paced well with a mixture of complete beginners and more experienced salsa dancers so that you are able to learn quickly whilst having loads of fun. This is a great activity if you are single too. I went with a friend to start with but when I went on my own felt equally at ease and people will go out of their welcome to welcome you and make you feel at ease. This is one of the main benefits of this class over others – I have been to a few other venues in Leeds but they felt clicky and I felt like an outside if I am honest. So check out Case Columbiana on a Thursday from 7.30pm. It’s a fun way to meet new people, get fit and I guarantee that you will really enjoy yourself…. And I’m currently working on their website. I will post a link soon as soon as it is completed.
Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/salsatwinsleeds/
3. The Domino Club
The Domino Club is extraordinary. You will find it by going into the Grand Arcade and heading for Lord’s Barbershop which has theatre seats outside the shop so it’s easy to spot. This hidden gem is accessed through the door at the back of the barber shop from where you descend a staircase into a cellar bar with simply outstanding jazz singers and bands. It’s cool, relaxed and has cozy booths making it a great place to visit with friends, as a couple or even on your own – one thing about Leeds is that wherever you go people are friendly and ask if you can join them and the conversation will flow. Definitely recommended for an evening out.
4. Royal Armouries Museum
This is a free museum and it is worth visiting for the building alone. The Royal Armouries is the UK’s National Museum of Arms and Armour and happens to be the UK’s oldest museum, originally housed in the Tower of London from the 15th century, and one of the oldest museums in the world.
The collection is fascinating so allow yourself plenty of time, although being free of course you can visit as many times as you like. Explore numerous floors of arms and armoury and look out for their events, including the latest one on Women in War. A definite must for any visitor to Leeds.
5. Jem’s Pit Stop Diner
Based in Batley not far from Ikea, Jem Pit Stop offers a unique dining experience surrounded by automotive memorabilia in an American style Diner that is bursting with character. This café looks like any ordinary bikers café from the outside but once inside you’ll be greeted by a Batman suit with an array of Volkswagen camper van décor including a VW bar, seats made out of car parts and something unique and interesting to see on every wall –the atmosphere is lively and welcoming and great for everyone whether you are into motor vehicles or not.
They offer an excellent choice of breakfasts, meals and delicious cakes with a barrister machine that complete the experience. Great for a date, visit alone or with friends, this is one not to miss and you’ll need to ensure that your phone is charged because you’ll want to take plenty of photographs to share with your friends.
There are so many more places to visit in Leeds and over the coming months I will post more. Of course, of you have a visitor attraction and would like me to blog then please contact me – I’ll be happy to feature your activity, restaurant or place to visit, and if you need a website to showcase the best of what you offer, Arctic Bee is the ideal company for you with no upfront costs – just excellent support and ongoing maintenance to ensure that your customers not only know where to find you, but what you have to offer. Let’s work together and showcase the best of Leeds and the surrounding area because this truly great City is one not to be missed.